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For Grades K-4 , week of Jan. 29, 2024

1. “I VOTED”

When people all across the United States vote, they usually get a sticker that says “I voted” to show that they’ve participated in the election. In New Hampshire’s primary elections, where people vote for which candidate they want to represent the Republican or Democratic parties in the presidential election this November, the “I voted” stickers were designed by fourth grade students. Three designs were chosen in a design contest that took place for the first time this year. More than 1,000 fourth graders submitted designs and judges looked at things like creativity, inclusion, and a focus on symbols or ideas specific to New Hampshire when picking the three winners. Now it’s your turn! Design round sticker that includes the words “I voted” and represents your home state.

2. HOT WATER

A professor of chemistry found herself in “hot water” recently when she suggested that the perfect cup of tea requires lemon juice and a unique ingredient: salt. She says the sodium in salt helps tea not taste bitter. In the United Kingdom, people thought it was a ridiculous idea. Tea is the most popular beverage in the world after water and in the United Kingdom, it’s an important part of the culture. Residents there consume about 100 million cups of tea a day. Most people there keep it very simple, pouring very hot water over single tea bag in a mug. Some add a splash of milk or a little bit of sugar, but that’s all. Even the US Embassy in London released a statement, lightheartedly saying that adding salt to tea was not US policy and the idea was “unthinkable.” For Americans, it’s hard to imagine having such strong opinions about tea, but what if someone suggested a crazy way to eat or drink something iconic to our country? Write down examples of classic American foods that you can think of. Would you have an open mind if someone from another country suggested a better way to enjoy them? Write down what you would say in that situation.

3. RECORD SETTER

The women’s basketball coach at Stanford University in California has set a new record. Tara VanDerveer has now become the winningest coach of all time for college basketball with 1,203 winning games. She was celebrated by former star players, other prominent basketball coaches, and even former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice at the record-breaking game. She started as a head coach at the age of 24 and continued for 45 years before reaching this milestone. Tara has helped bring women’s college basketball into the spotlight during her career. Write a summary of this story, including at least five facts in your write-up.

4. SELFIES IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM

A photographer trained two rats to take pictures of themselves and learned something about the rodents. He wondered why so many people take photos of their lives and share the pictures online, like on social media. To answer the question, he taught two rats by giving them treats when they pressed a button that snapped their photo. The rats could immediately see their pictures on a screen, too. They quickly learned to press the button and kept doing it, even when the treats didn’t come as frequently. The photographer made the connection with the way humans look at social media, where the “treat” is notifications like likes and follows, and seeing things and people we like on our newsfeeds. Do you like taking pictures of yourself or your world? Why do you think that is? Write a paragraph, listing some things you like taking pictures of and why that is.

5. WHAT’S IN A NAME?

Actor and former wrestling superstar Dwayne Johnson will finally have the legal rights to his own famous nickname, “The Rock.” Dwayne, who you might know as the voice of Maui in Disney’s “Moana” movie, was a pro wrestler with the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) before he moved into acting. He got his nickname, The Rock, from his father, Rocky Johnson, who was the first Black champion in WWE history. Until now, the WWE owned the rights to the name The Rock, which is why the organization’s head got credit as executive producer in some of Dwayne’s films. Now, Dwayne has made a deal with the WWE to get the rights to the trademark of his own nickname. That means he can make money from the name when it’s used on products, for example. Dwayne Johnson’s nickname is an important part of his identity as a performer, both in wrestling and in movies, and his nickname is different from most people’s because it’s almost like a brand name. Do you have a nickname or know someone that does? Do you think that it would be important to them to be able to use that nickname whenever they want? Now think about a company: Why would it be important for a company to keep other people from using their same name? Putting those two ideas together, write a paragraph explaining why you think it was important for Dwayne Johnson to get the legal rights to his nickname, “The Rock.”

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